On being open..

So once again I am running a session at this years IWMW based on a half-formed idea and a hastily written direct message to Brian.

What the abstract fails to actually get across though is..well everything.

I’m not planning on talking about open source, content, data really. What I want to talk about is the kind of extreme openness/transparency/sharing demonstrated by a number of development teams these days but particularly that demonstrated by the recent GOVUK project.

The idea of blogging as ‘open practice’ is reasonably well established (I think?) and in HE there are some teams who do a brilliant job of this (I am regularly in debt to posts from the Edge Hill and Bath web teams) and the more of this that happens the better for everyone [I think]. The GOVUK team have taken this much further though – blogging pretty much all their thinking even at early stages, using Github to share code (and more), even having an open to the public Pivotal Tracker project backlog (pretty much completed now..) and speaking at all sorts of events big and small (including GovWest!).

I have found myself genuinely inspired by the web again, after a spell of coasting if I am honest, as I saw people taking chances and really embracing modern techniques, tools & culture I guess in an environment (the civil service!) hardly known for risk taking. If this level of change can be achieved there (albeit with massive financial and political backing) then on a smaller scale maybe we can all achieve more and with the extreme level of transparency they have provided a map for us all to follow. Maybe 🙂

That is my premise anyway. I’ll be looking for additional examples (from both sides of the argument!) and trying to give some thought to the question of whether in an environment where ‘competition is king’ this sort of thing is going to be acceptable to the powers that be.

2 responses to “On being open..”

  1. Having the public backing of a government document and spokesperson (MLF) really helps them. I think more teams would be more transparent if they knew they had some top-level buy-in for their actions, to help justify to others why some things happened and others didn’t. Take a look at the activities we’re involved in *other* than standard content management, planning and writing: http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/webservices/2012/05/11/beyond-the-website-what-do-we-do-in-2012/

  2. I totally agree re the top-level buy-in – I think that and actually having money has made a huge difference – but I wonder if the fact that that has happened means more senior managers will get on board as it is being supported *so* publicly?

    I have already read that post from your team – and shared it around a few people at the Research Councils 🙂

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